Stuffed animals are cute and cuddly. But all of those plush bears are total space hogs. Baby Mwah started off with just one stuffed bunny, but the animals have multiplied as fast as real bunnies since well-meaning relatives (and sometimes even his mommy) can’t resist buying them.
Unless you have a baby too young to protest (or notice) when you abscond with a fuzzy monkey or two, you probably won’t be able to convince your child to part with any of his fluffy friends. And let’s face it: paring down your child’s stuffed animal menagerie is a Sisyphean task anyhow. Even if you do manage to convince your children to give away that stuffed duck they haven’t played with in months without them howling in protest, your relatives will just give them more for the next birthday or holiday.
Kids and clutter go hand in hand, but with just a little creativity you can prevent the stuffed animals from taking over your child’s bedroom. Here are my top five tips and recommendations on the best products for organizing your kid’s room:
1) Put Your Stuffed Animals to Work:
With a Boon Animal Organization Bag, you can transform your child’s stuffed animal collection into a comfy soft seat. This soft, oversized plush bag has large, zippered windows made out of transparent durable mesh, so your child will be able to see and quickly access his favorite fuzzy friends. And when it’s time to clean up, he can lounge in comfort on this furry beanbag-like seat.
At $53.99, the Boon Stuffed Animal Bag costs about the same as a traditional beanbag chair…but it’s much more useful. As an added benefit, you can use this in your family room as extra seating and to keep toys from cluttering up that room. (Available at Boon and Amazon.com in either grass green or a soft pink.)
2) Use Stuffed Animals as Currency:
While kids might receive tons of stuffed animals as gifts, they probably only play with a handful regularly. A clever friend of mine lets her young children “buy” new toys with their unused stuffed animals or toys. She lives in a small apartment and didn’t have any room for new toys. So when they beg for a new toy, she tells them how much it will cost. For example, a new outfit for an American Girl doll might “cost 1 big or 2 medium or 3 small stuffed animals.” She cleans and donates the stuffed animals to charity. This helps her keep her kids’ toy collection a manageable size without a peep of protest. If you think this is too complicated, consider setting a simple “one-in/one-out” rule regarding toys instead.
3) Invest in High-Quality Storage Bins:
These wooden bins from the Land Of Nod make it easy for kids to keep toys organized and to find them quickly. When your children outgrow their stuffed animals, you can use them to store sports equipment, games or books since this classic wood furniture is sophisticated enough for a teen’s room too. (Available in pastel colors, primary colors or natural wood colors for $149 at the Land of Nod)
4) Buy a Portable Toy Box for the Family Room:
Having toys strewn about might not bother you if they were confined to the playroom or your child’s bedroom. But young children like to be near mom, so it’s likely that your kids spend a lot of time playing with toys in the living room or family room. Clutter makes a house look messy, but you can keep your house looking guest-ready by placing a neutral-colored portable toy box in the family room.
The Clear Side Storage Unit at OneStepAhead ($109.95) is available in natural wood or white. Its wheels and handles make it easy-to-move so you can take it out when kids want to play and stow it quickly when guests stop by. You can even make a game of clean up by encouraging your kids to toss their stuffed toys into the open bins. And the clear sides mean it will be easy for your child to find a special toy without dumping the whole box.
5) Look in the Mirror:
If you want your kids to clean their clutter and to pick up after themselves, set a good example by keeping your own stuff in order.